The Ambridge Socialist: who are The Guardian readers in Ambridge?

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2016 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist


65 years of the class struggle in Borsetshire

20th March

Who are The Guardian readers in Ambridge ?


The Guardian

Writing in The Guardian (see below) Nancy Banks Smith has suggested that Pat Archer is the only reader of the paper in the village. This may have been true historically when it only appeared in hard copy format and it may well still be the case that Pat is the only person to have a Guardian on order at the village shop.

However these days the Guardian is available on the interwebs and digitally to be read on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Hence it seems likely that its readership in Ambridge is a bit more than just Pat.

Who might these people be ?

Pat Archer

Rob Titchener

Helen Titchener

The Professor

Lynda Snell

Kate Aldridge

Joe Grundy

Titchener steps up offensive

With Ursula having been given an ultimatum to depart Titchener has had to step up his offensive against Helen this week.

He lied about what happened during her latest episode of sleep walking and used this as a pretext to rush through an appointment with a psychiatrist. The conclusion seems to have been that Helen is depressed which in the circumstances is hardly surprising.

Next Titchener and his mother conspired to despatch Henry to a Boarding School without (so far) telling either Helen or Henry. That no doubt is a minor problem as it were.

Below is an explanation of the theory behind the much needed fightback against Titchener

E.P. Thompson, Le Charivari Anglais. Rob Titchener and Ambridge

As the bullying behaviour of Rob Titchener towards his partner Helen in the Archers continues, calls have increased for him to be subject to some kind of sanction.


The traditional sanction of the English countryside as was Le Charivari Anglais, rough music.

Thompson defined rough music as:

‘a rude cacophony..usually directed mockery or hostility against individuals who offended against certain community norms’

He noted an early usage from 1708 that referred to ‘the harmony of tinging kettles and frying pans’. It was Thompson argued a ‘raucous ear-shattering noise unpitying laughter and the mimicking of obscenties’. And it wasn’t just ‘noise’ but ‘street drama, parading and burning of effigies’.

The idea was to ring a total publicity of disgrace to the chosen victim

But while Thompson suggested that ‘rough music was always potentially subversive’ in practice it could take ‘a conservative form’. Tom Paine was the second most burned effigy.

Thompson preferred the rule of law (see his Whigs and Hunters) to the community sanction of rough music, even though he was aware that the law itself as administered was very far from perfect.

The reality is however that while Rob Titchener may eventually get some kind of rough music from the inhabitants of Ambridge, it might be as likely that Helen herself would end up with a similar action from those, apparently numerous, Ambridge residents who regard Titchener as a good chap and Helen has someone with a record of past issues.

In that sense we can see why Thompson (who lived himself in Borsetshire at Wick Episcopi) might well have preferred Titchener to be arrested, tried in court and dealt with by due process

Nancy Banks-Smith on The Archers: Helen’s ‘confinement’ provides toe-curling psychological thrills

The Guardian 15th March

My grandmother – now, we’re going back a bit – used to describe pregnancy delicately as “being confined”. It’s a phrase that suits Helen very well. Ever since she became pregnant, she has been a wraithlike presence, a pale face at the window of Blossom Hill Cottage, lank-haired and wearing the charity-shop clothes her husband, Rob, prefers, making occasional disconcerting distressed forays into an oblivious Ambridge. Wilkie Collins would have spat on his hands and whistled.

This sorry situation burst into flames recently when a toad-in-the-hole caught fire. Who Torched the Toad escalated into a full-scale fight, with Helen showing a flash of spirit, Rob hitting her and five-year-old Henry, entering into the spirit of things, shoving a small school friend called Xanthe. Though, frankly, I think any child called Xanthe is just asking to be shoved.

It is, as you can see, a madhouse. Rob actually believes his own lies, a dizzying phenomenon usually only encountered on a rostrum. Those who confront him end up, rather to their surprise, in the wrong, or Poland, or Perth. Or, if Helen isn’t careful, a psychiatric ward. Now that’s what I call confinement. This is a fine, toe-curling psychological thriller with a ruthlessly long gestation period and, queasily, an unborn child in the mix.

Unaware of the black hole in the middle of the village, David and Ruth have bought 200 multicoloured cows, a hard-bitten bunch who laugh at the weather, while Rex and Toby are buying Welsh hens (nothing much to look at, but beautiful voices). All free to wander wherever they want. Freedom is very much the buzz word now in Ambridge. Except, of course, in Blossom Hill Cottage.


I must say I am disappointed in Pat, Helen’s mother. She is the only person in Ambridge to buy the Guardian, but she obviously doesn’t read it. I feel I’m wasting my time here. Helen’s best hope is Kirsty. You remember Kirsty? Last seen waiting at the church wreathed in orange blossom, doves and harpists (it is possible her wedding plans got a bit out of hand), while Tom, an ever-diminishing figure in the distance, legged it to Canada. This sort of thing can cause a certain coolness between a couple, but Kirsty and Tom have one thing in common. They distrust Rob even more than they distrust each other. It’s a bond.

Brainteaser of the month: “Why does Penrith have to be so far away?” (Pip Archer)

A month in Ambridge returns on 12 April


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